One Minute With : Michael Palin
Friday 18 September 2009
Where are you now and what can you see?
In my work room at home in Gospel Oak, London, I see the backs of houses, 1860s brick-built on one side, and 1980s architect-designed white concrete on the other, separated by an urban jungle of green trees and shrubs.
What are you currently reading?
Saddled with Darwin: A journey through South America by Toby Green. Entertaining, enterprising and very useful for a talk I have soon to give on the great man. My fiction fix at the moment is John Updike's S which I found while clearing out old shelves. Once I'd blown the dust off it, it hooked me from page one.
Choose a favourite author
Vladimir Nabokov. Elegant, stylish, funny, delicate and inimitable.
Describe the room where you usually write
It is ten metres long by three wide, windows on either side which overlook verdant back gardens, a circular staircase that leads onto the roof, and paintings and books on the walls.
What distracts you from writing?
Almost anything. My computer is the ultimate distraction, offering millions of alternatives to the job in hand. I'm seriously thinking of writing my next book (a second novel) long-hand, as I do with my diary each morning.
What fictional character resembles you most?
Lassie. Loves family life and is prepared to travel long distances for it.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
Backpack sporting, heavily perspiring and usually abroad
Who is your hero or heroine from outside literature?
Frank Pick, who created the design style for London Transport in the 1920s and 1930s, which has not been bettered since.
Michael Palin's volume of diaries, 'Halfway to Hollywood', is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson
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Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Revealed after 75 years of secrecy: 'Fifi' the glamorous WW2 special agent who tested British spies' resolve
- 5 Have you heard about the film Singapore has banned its people from watching? Well, you have now
Laurie Lee's Rosie: What is it like to inspire a writer's work and be immortalised forever on the page?
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Doctor Who series 8: Time Heist pictures revealed ahead of episode 5
The Walking Dead season 5 air date, trailer and season 4 recap
Star Wars 7 leaked set photo of Adam Driver changes everything
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'